Ruben Khachatryan, Head of the Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC), told the Media Center that the bears transported to Yerevan on January 22 are getting strong and healthy at the Yerevan Zoo. “The bears have rehabilitated in the quarantine period and the positive shift is evident.”
The Ministry of Nature Protection has drafted a package of new legislative amendments regarding free and semi-free range animals and intends to submit it to the National Assembly’s next session,said Khachik Hakobyan, Deputy Minister of Nature Protection.
“This Friday (25 March, 2016) the NA Standing Committee on Agriculture and Environment will discuss the draft amendments which include details on stricter regimes and procedures. Besides, we want to introduce a new concept that individuals who have received licenses to keep animals will pay taxes and the proceeds will be used to solve similar problems,” KhachikHakobyan said.
“According to these changes, it will be possible to keep such animals in accordance with international standards only. In Armenia now there are other such animals - 6-7 private zoos and 50-60 places where animals are kept - and there is cooperation to set up a rehabilitation center in Armenia,” he said.
Christophe Marie and Elodie Gérôme from the Brigitte Bardot Foundation, which has been working closely with local organizations since November 2015 and funded the relocation of the bears, shared thoughts on the situation and the larger issue which is obvious.
“The relocation of the two bears does not solve the problem. It is essential to adopt a comprehensive legislation to eliminate the possibility of new cases,” they said.
“In a few hours, the bear Masha and Misha, whose plight has shocked public opinion over the world, will leave their cages for a natural environment. It’s a chance, a hope for all the wild animals unjustly imprisoned, deprived of liberty. FPWC and my Foundation have worked together, with the support of the Ministry of Nature Protection, to achieve this great result. Beyond this particular case, I am pleased to learn that this Ministry will present on Friday a proposal to strengthen national legislation so that there is never again a “zoo of shame” as the one discovered in Gyumri. Armenia is now an example, the image of a progressive country, respectful of animals… Bravo, Merci”, said the founder of the Foundation, world famous French actress Brigitte Bardot.
Arevik Sahakyan, Editor-Coordinator